Sharing Bennerley’s Heritage

One of the key purposes of the Bennerley Viaduct Project is to enable the local community and visitors alike to learn about and celebrate this magnificent structure. Many people in the area are aware of the viaduct but know little of its history and the stories it tells.  We are therefore delighted that Heritage Lottery have funded the cost of providing interpretation boards which have been erected in three locations. These are at  the Nottingham Canal viaduct viewing point, Newtons Lane car park and at the Bridge Inn in Cotmanhay.

The viaduct is of national importance. There is only one other wrought iron viaduct of its type left in the country and there is a growing sense of pride in the valley and beyond that we are the custodians of such an important piece of industrial history. his is part of the ongoing process of sharing and celebrating that rich industrial heritage.

(The image above was taken by Steve Adams and posted on the Eastwood and Kimberley Out and about facebook page)

“Raleigh” in the Valley

On the weekend of May 6th and 7th, over sixty cyclists took part in this historic event with Raleigh providing a fleet  of the art electric bikes. People came from as far afield as Manchester and Crewe for the event where groups pedalled on  the Erewash Valley Trail from the Raleigh HQ in Eastwood to Bennerley Viaduct. Riding through this part of D.H.Lawrence country on the e bikes was an absolute joy for all involved.

The event put bikes and Bennerley together and the event widened the number of people who  learned about Bennerley Viaduct and the exciting plans for it. One lady on completing the trip to the viaduct said it was the best couple of hours that she had spent in years.

We hope to run further events  with Raleigh and hopefully, we will be able to ride across the deck of the viaduct in the not too distant future.

 

Raleighing Around the Iron Giant.

The Raleigh company has been around for a long time, but not quite as long as the Bennerley Viaduct! The cycle maker started its life on Raleigh Street in 1885, once had a works in Ilkeston and now has its main showroom and distribution centre in Eastwood just a short bike ride away from the viaduct. What could be more natural than for the cycle giant and the “Iron Giant” to join forces?

You have the unique opportunity to discover the wonders of Bennerley Viaduct on a Raleigh electric bike on a weekend event on the 6th and 7th of May.

Starting at Raleigh UK in Eastwood, you will get the opportunity to hear about the history of Bennerley Viaduct and its future plans whilst enjoying light refreshments. You can also browse all the latest Raleigh electric bikes in their new showroom before being kitted out with a Raleigh electric bike.

Once kitted our, you will ride in a group on the Erewash Valley Trail to Bennerley Viaduct where you will hear about Sustrans exciting plans to bring the viaduct back into use as a centrepiece of the areas walking and cycling trails.

There will be two rides on both Saturday and Sunday taking place at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm on both days. The event  is likely to be heavily oversubscribed so places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. In order to book a place, please BOOK HERE

Join us at our First AGM. April 10th

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct continue to play a pivotal  role in the quest to bring the iconic structure back into use as a walking and cycling trail. The Friends group are drawn from all walks of life and actively support the project from a wide range of different perspectives. Working in partnership with Sustrans, the award winning Friends group have done an immense amount to move the project forwards.

Inaugural AGM. On Monday April 10th 2017 at The Gate Inn, Awsworth at 7:00 pm, the group will be having its inaugural annual general meeting. At this meeting we will review the achievements of the previous year but more importantly, we will aim to reshape the group and refocus our work to match the new challenges that lie ahead as Sustrans puts in its bid for Heritage Lottery Funding.

Help us Shape the Group: In essence, the direction of the group will be shaped and determined by the group. You are invited to attend the meeting and propose motions which will be voted on by those who attend. If you wish to put forward a motion, please consider the four bullet points below and forward any motions to kieran.lee@sustrans.org.uk. by Friday March 31st. This will give us time to ensure all motions are sent out prior to the meeting.

  • Indicate what you would want to develop or what you would want changing.
  • Identify the pros and cons of such a development.
  • Consider whether there are any resource implications.
  • Consider what you could do to make it happen.

Membership and Roles within the Group.  At present, “membership” of the Friends group is an informal arrangement but the view has been expressed in recent meetings that the group is now at the stage in its development to be formalising membership. There is also a need  to develop certain roles within the group such as merchandising, fundraising, managing and organising workdays, developing fund raising opportunities and if individuals volunteer to take on roles, then they must be working within a structure where they are empowered to make decisions within their particular area of responsibility. We are not in the position to open up those roles at present until there has been agreement at the AGM on motions that will be put forward in these areas.

We look forward to your involvement in the future of the group.

 

Kieran Lee

Restoring the Wrought Iron Giant

Bennerley Viaduct, made largely from wrought iron, has withstood the test of time and is in remarkably good shape for a structure which has been exposed to the elements since 1877.  Bringing the viaduct back into use has focussed attention on how best we can make the necessary repairs and how we ensure that the structure remains sound as it is brought back into use as a walking and cycling trail.

A seminar involving  Derby College students, engineers, heritage related conservation officers and members from the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct all learnt a great deal from Geoff Wallis, a leading conservator and founder member of the National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG) .   The event was hosted at the historic Roundhouse in Derby which is a Derby College campus.

Geoff Wallis had visited the Bennerley Viaduct on the previous day, learning about the project and assessing the scale of decay which has taken place.  He pointed out to delegates  where the structure needed attention and he outlined non invasive restoration techniques. Following the event, Geoff said ” You have a wonderful structure at Bennerley and your plans for its future are excellent.”

Sustrans Network Development Project Officer Bill Tomson said “we feel more informed and inspired about cast iron and wrought iron. Such knowledge will greatly help in our efforts to restore, manage and maintain Bennerley Viaduct correctly

The seminar was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and hosted in a partnership with Derby College.

Support from Anna Soubry MP.

Support from Anna Soubry MP in her latest newsletter to residents.

Anna Soubry MP pictured with Sustrans director Matt Easter.
Anna Soubry MP pictured with Sustrans director Matt Easter.

‘Bennerley viaduct – a great project gets off the ground
I am delighted to support a project to reopen the Bennerley Viaduct near Awsworth.

The charity Sustrans will bid for £4 million of Heritage Lottery funds to reopen the Viaduct which is 400m long and one of only two wrought-iron viaducts left in the country.

Bennerley Viaduct supported rail lines to transport coal across the Erewash Valley.

The restoration works will combine routes for cyclists and pedestrians and will link walks along the old Nottingham canal with the Erewash canal and trail.

It’s simply a brilliant project!’